Random G2E opinions posing as thoughtful commentary By Jeffrey Compton September 28, 2013 at 2:32 pm This year’s G2E show floor was a happy place – even on the last day (my favorite time to go). With a few exceptions (I did hear detailed, specific concerns regarding the effects of Obamacare), everyone was upbeat about their business and overall industry trends. Several people told me that this was the first G2E they’ve attended in the last few years. Vendors said that traffic was strong in both quantity and quality – and they will be back next year. Personally, I was got everything done that I wanted – and best yet, saw many old friends, especially my (still irascible) former partner-in-crime Bob Dancer. I am not a slot player, much less a slot manager, but I found this year’s new games interesting and fun. For more on those games, I recommend the fine coverage by Howard Stutz and John Przybys (Las Vegas Review Journal) and Hannah Dreier (Associated Press). It was great seeing Frank Fahrenkopf at the Tuesday morning AGA press briefing. He was in the back of the room (thus avoiding stealing thunder from the main act – Geoff Freeman), smiling and offering, as always, dead-on political opinions. Frank still cares very much about the industry where he has been a leader for the last 18 years (and his consulting contract runs through December), but he also appears ready to move on with characteristic enthusiasm and vigor. Geoff Freeman is a controversial choice to be president of the AGA – especially if you have never met him. The age difference is sharp: Frank Fahrenkopf is old enough to be my (albeit young) father; Geoff Freeman is young enough to be my son. He is also the right person for the job. Based on personal conversations, and particularly on his talk at the AGA press briefing, he is intelligent, passionate (he’s not very big, but I would want him on my side in a bar fight), and a very quick study. Best yet is Geoff Freeman’s hands-on vision for making the AGA relevant for the entire industry, not just the main players. This year’s G2E had record attendance, but that is not due to the level of devotion to the AGA; G2E is a damn good, well-run trade show. For the AGA to continue to prosper it has to convince more casino industry folks to put some skin in the game – and Geoff Freeman appears to be the one to do that. At the AGA Communication Awards luncheon, where he received this year’s Lifetime Achievement award, Victor Rocha greeted me with a warm handshake and an invitation to sit at his table – which I declined as there were many people in the room more deserving of that honor. (Full disclosure: Well after he created Pechanga.net, I started the predecessor of CDC Gaming Reports, a competitor.) Victor Rocha later gave an incredible acceptance speech that touched on none of his life story or his many achievements, but discussed the many Indian and Tribal issues he so cares about. He is proud how far his tribe and the entire Native American population has come –but he barely mentioned his unique role in that journey. In summary: Victor Rocha radiates class! Finally whoever is responsible for the taxi pickup “system” at the Sands Convention Center should be horsewhipped. The complicated car access from the street created a passenger waiting line frequently a half-hour long – and the cold breeze coming out of the convention center doors mades the experience torture. Luckily I was surrounded by good gaming folk, which improves any situation. See you there next year! Note: Normally we do not solicit comments or feedback to our columns – but if anyone out there has impressions of the show they would like to share (including disagreements with my opinions) please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will incorporate them into a future commentary.